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Thursday, April 16, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #88

"The Great Escape"
April 1990

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants reunite with X-Factor while Cable battles Freedom Force. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Inker: Hilary Barta
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cable is interrogated by Freedom Force, who demand he helps them hunt down the MLF, who appear to be acquiring the elements needed to build a hydrogen bomb, or be executed as one of their members. Meanwhile, the New Mutants are reunited with X-Factor, arriving at the newly-sedentary Ship just as X-Factor finishes their press conference. As Cable escapes from his holding cell, X-Factor and the New Mutants watch footage of Freedom Force capturing Rusty & Skids. Though the New Mutants want to go after Freedom Force, Beast tells them to stay clear unless they're attacked directly, and Cyclops contacts Freedom Force, demanding the return of Rusty & Skids or else X-Factor will go to the law, and the press. As Freedom Force debates how to respond to X-Factor, especially given the fact they no longer have Rusty and Skids in custody, they learn of Cable's escape and chase after him.


However, Cable fights them off and leaps out a window and runs off from the building. Back at Ship, the New Mutants contact their family members while Boom-Boom shows off a new look. In Washington, Cable heads for the chopper pad, pursued by Super Sabre and Blob. Meanwhile, Rahne contacts Moira. She and the rest of the New Mutants are shocked by Moira's aggressive appearance, and even more shocked when she orders Rahne to return to Muir Island. In Washington, Cable reaches a helicopter and takes off. Mystique, worried about how much Cable knows of their operations and the MLF's plans, orders Freedom Force to stop him at all costs. 

Firsts and Other Notables
The New Mutants spot Ship landing and are reunited with the team in the midst of their press conference, just after an angsty Archangel flew off at the end of X-Factor #51, marking the first time X-Factor is seen on page with their ostensible wards since X-Factor #41. The New Mutants proceed to settle down in Ship again, which will once again be their home, briefly, until Cable leads them elsewhere.


X-Factor learns about Freedom Force having targeted Rusty and Skids (though Rusty and Skids' abduction by the MLF is still known only to Cable and Freedom Force), and they spring into action to help their wards, one of whom is the very first mutant they rescued as X-Factor, by...leaving a very stern phone message for Freedom Force, then telling the rest of the New Mutants to stay clear of Freedom Force while X-Factor work things out. And that pretty much constitutes the entirety of X-Factor's efforts to help Rusty and Skids.


Dani is removed from the corner cover box as of this issue. 

The Chronology Corner
Obviously, X-Factor's appearance here occurs during and just after X-Factor #51. Which of course means they're well aware of Rusty and Skids predicament when they're out on their dates in issue #52. 

A Work in Progress
We learn in this issue that Freedom Force found Cable after the MLF attack last issue, and they're responsible for bringing him to the government holding facility he appeared in at the end of the issue.

Roberto says his mother is off on a dig, a nice reminder of her occupation, and that he has no desire to call his father (who is evil and technically still a member of the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle, not that those details have been mentioned much of late).

Uncharacteristically Sexy Moira pops up in this issue, and orders Rahne to return to Muir Island, saying the New Mutants' environment is no longer suitable for her in the absence of both Professor X and Magneto, though we're clearly meant to suspect darker motives given Moira's strange behavior through the X-titles of late.


Skids is referred to as "Skids Blevins" in this issue, even though her actual first name is Sally. Similarly, Super Sabre is called "Silver Sabre".  

The Cable Guy 
This issue reveals that Freedom Force knows of Cable and vice versa (which isn't too far fetched, given that last issue established he's known to the military). They also say he has quite the record.


Cable repairs his bionic hand, damaged in the previous issue, an act which doesn't really gel with the later revelation that his bionics are actually a creation of the techno-organic virus he struggles to keep in check. He also keeps vials of acids tucked away in his metal arm as of this issue. 

His reputation is also such that the generic soldiers guarding him consider him a legend, and treat him with a certain level of respect despite his position as their prisoner.


A point is made that Cable doesn't kill Super Sabre when he has a chance (echoing a similar scene with Storm from Uncanny X-Men #216), yet at the same time, Cable has no compunctions against blasting away at Freedom Force with a gun (maybe they were all warning shots?). 


Young Love
Rictor is clearly smitten with Rahne as of this issue, much to the dismay of Boom-Boom (who mostly seems bothered by how oblivious Rahne is to it all).


The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
Mystique compares Cable to Khadafi.


501 Genes
You'll note everyone in the cover is positioned such that their feet are obscured.

Cable sits at the foot of a bed, apparently dangling his legs up and over a foot board. 


This issue contains one of the more infamous examples of Liefeld's bad anatomy, as Boom-Boom emerges wearing a head-turning dress. While Liefeld makes sure we know exactly where her sexy parts are, he's not too sure about her legs, as one of them looks to be coming out of her waste sideways, while she's also apparently become a ballet dancer and is poised mid jump or developed the mutant power to float slightly off the ground.


That said, Teen Teebore was never terribly concerned with her feet.

The gun Cable acquires when escaping Freedom Force is just laying on the ground randomly after he jumps out a windo.


Rob Liefeld on his favorite New Mutant
"Rusty and Skids come to me the easiest and they are easily my favorites. I see them as like updated versions of Johnny Storm and Sue Storm...one has flame, and ones has a shield power. Boom Boom's a lot of fun to draw. I'm still trying to get a handle on drawing Rictor and Cannonball. Warlock's a tremendous amount of fun. I like them all a lot."

Rob Liefeld on being the regular artist of a series
"You can't change somebody's hair style or draw them the way you see them when it's in the context of a fill-in. On The New Mutants, I'm going wild. I figure the way the look will have dramatically changed by my sixth issue, because I'll be finding my niche with these characters, how to draw them best the way I see them. It's all a matter of feeling ore comfortable with them"

Sanderson, Peter. The Mutant Report: Rob Liefeld Interview." Marvel Age #86. March, 1990: 11

Teebore's Take
Cable's introductory romp through New Mutants continues apace, as he busts out of military holding and takes on Freedom Force, in the process affirming just what a Super Awesome Cool character he is already while giving Rob Liefeld plenty of action scenes to draw. Meanwhile, the characters who remain the titular stars of the series go about settling in after their long Asgardian sojourn, reuniting with X-Factor and getting in touch with their families. This is the material in the issue that really shines, as it harkens back to the more character-driven elements of the series, complete with the ongoing soap opera that is Rahne's never-ending string of romantic crushes involving teammates. There's definitely something cathartic in seeing Cable trounce Freedom Force, the group which so stymied Rusty and Skids and which led to their departure from the book, and having all the other characters talk about how cool and badass and legendary Cable is beats having the narration just tell us as much. But it's still very refreshing to see the kids being kids again, given a chance to just hang out and catch up and angst about feelings and stuff. Cable is here, but glimmers of the book that was still remain.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, romance abounds in X-Factor #53. Next week, Marvel Comics Presents #48-50 and Excalibur #21. 

Collected Editions

33 comments:

  1. they spring into action to help their wards, one of whom is the very first mutant they rescued as X-Factor, by...leaving a very stern phone message for Freedom Force

    Hey, it's Scott Summers making a phone call, that's some serious shit.

    So, the questionable Sue&Johnny thing wasn't all reader's own read, then. Ah well, there were the Fenris twins on my first ish, can't say I wasn't warned.

    ... Rusty and Skids are his favorites...

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  2. "Which of course means they're well aware of Rusty and Skids predicament when they're out on their dates in issue #52."

    X-factor: Worst foster parents ever! It's like they were in a competition with Storm and Magneto to see who was worse...

    "Uncharacteristically Sexy Moira"

    Remember how Cosmic Spider-man had his own trading card? Too bad USM didn't also. But then, her regular trading card would have been Uptight Spinster Moira? ;)

    "This issue reveals that Freedom Force knows of Cable and vice versa (which isn't too far fetched, given that last issue established he's known to the military). They also say he has quite the record."

    "His reputation is also such that the generic soldiers guarding him consider him a legend, and treat him with a certain level of respect despite his position as their prisoner."

    Good to know Cable was being propped up as the most bad-ass bad-ass who ever bad-assed rather quickly...

    "an act which doesn't really gel with the later revelation that his bionics are actually a creation of the techno-organic virus he struggles to keep in check"

    You're going to be seeing quite a bit of this until X-force #1. It could be it's own section!

    "Mystique compares Cable to Khadafi."

    Wait, what?

    "Rusty and Skids come to me the easiest and they are easily my favorites"

    He must have changed his opinion rather quickly...

    The art is just so shitty. The only saving grace is the inking. Otherwise...oh God this was such an ugly book, mostly in retrospect (yeah, I thought a bit differently when I was a kid), but I can't believe there was a time in my life where I thought *this* was better than Alan Davis or George Perez...

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  3. For some reason I misread your "In a Nutshell" as "The New Mutants reunite with X-Factor while Cable belittles Freedom Force."

    Which would have made for an awesome story. Cable and Freedom Force sitting at a dais as he proceeds to mercilessly roast every member of the team.

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  4. "...he's not too sure about her legs, as one of them looks to be coming out of her waste sideways"

    Eeeeewwwwww

    - Mike Loughlin

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  5. Matt: Cable and Freedom Force sitting at a dais as he proceeds to mercilessly roast every member of the team.

    "You'll never get rid of your embarrassing rash before you start to dress properly all the way, Crimson Commando."

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  6. "What do you call it when the X-Men run you around the D.C. Holocaust memorial for twelve minutes? Well, I guess 'a massive fucking success!', if we ask the Freedom Force!"

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  7. "Y'all, remember that time when the steel guy was frozen to near-death with liquid nitrogen? Yeah... T2. I mean, Dom, who's gonna ever remember one thing of you when you keep changing your costume more often than Rogue? I mean really, did the poor girl manage it even to the bus station before you had called shotgun to all her closets? Which brings to my mind, there's this speedster mutant... Martin Fletcher, the Super-Sabre. You totally expected me to say 'Northstar', right?... Thank you! Give the veal a try, it's flamberated by someone who actually can make fire."

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  8. Weezie expected readers to believe that Freedom Force and the "government" didn't check a known rogue operative, Cable, over and remove any tools (used here to repair his bionic hand) he might have concealed, or vials of acid!?

    @Teebore: Liefeld would make a good porn industry director, given the impossible positions he likes his females folded into;)

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  9. Not sure if this qualifies as "501 Genes", but Moira's body language is less a sassy arm crossing and more an attempt to cover her chest up after taking a shower. Seriously, that's the only time I've ever seen anyone strike that pose.

    For some reason I misread your "In a Nutshell" as "The New Mutants reunite with X-Factor while Cable belittles Freedom Force."

    I'd buy that.

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  10. There's one other thing that doesn't make sense about the scene with X-Factor- the Inferno babies. In New Mutants 78, Rusty and Skids told the New Mutants Freedom Force had the Inferno babies and Freedom Force tried to prevent the New Mutants from reaching X-Factor so they wouldn't find out. But none of this is mentioned here. Shouldn't the first thing X-Factor have asked is why Freedom Force grabbed Rusty and Skids? Shouldn't Freedom Force have been worried X-Factor would reveal their baby-napping?
    "It's like they were in a competition with Storm and Magneto to see who was worse..."
    Well, they did learn everything they know from Xavier:
    "Oh, no, Karma's gone missing. Clearly the only thing to do is... lie to the New Mutants about her being dead while doing nothing to rescue her."
    "an act which doesn't really gel with the later revelation that his bionics are actually a creation of the techno-organic virus he struggles to keep in check"
    This is later explained away as Cable masking his condition to potential enemies in Cable 9.

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  11. wwk5d: Remember how Cosmic Spider-man had his own trading card? Too bad USM didn't also. But then, her regular trading card would have been Uptight Spinster Moira?

    I do believe there might have been one in the Liefeld X-Force trading card series, though not with the name. But I resent Uptight Spinster Moira, her marital status went from Enstrangered Wife of Politician to a Widow in the build-up for DPS, and during it she'd been technically open for Sean's advancements except for tiredness from running the ominous Phoenix test figures. She's a Jumpsuited Armed Nobel-laureate.

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  12. Hey, it's Scott Summers making a phone call, that's some serious shit.

    Well, at least Scott finally figured out how to use a phone. Took him bloody long enough. ;) That's a skill that would've come in handy in the early X-Factor days.

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  13. I don't like this Liefeldian Blob. My Blob is the spherical mid-80's JRjr life-of-the-party Blob (and I do understand he's been around since X-MEN #3 and we got Blobs aplenty). This gargantuan monstrosity ain't Blob at all. He's like two times taller than anyone. And I hate his hair.

    It's kind of cool though that their position as the governmental superhero team of a special kind has been taken seriously linewide, now that they have little use in regards to the X-Men.

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  14. @Teemu: If the Shadow King was influencing Destiny's visions, I wonder what benefit he got from Freedom Force become the government's mutants?

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  15. Nathan, jumping the gun you are (Liefeld issue, yes, but still). Let's wait a couple of issues, just in spite, to see if Shadow King tries to possess someone, and then make someone to make something to someone, and if someone has had a warning of it in a something from someone, and if someone curiously drops a name then.

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  16. The Super-Sabre scene will become rather ironic later on.

    That Blob is just awful!

    Speaking of Boom-Boom, even ignoring the poor anatomy, something that was starting to become noticeable, even then was his much more "mature" the teenage cast was starting to look. Way back during the Falling Angels/Secret Wars era, Tabitha was suppose to be about 13. During the Blevins era there were complaints that cast looked like 12 year old Bobble-head dolls. Now they all look like supermodels. Even "fifteen-ish" Rahne. Even with the general praise of art some of the letters started to worry about this.

    I know much has been said on X-Factor's lack of follow-up on both Rusty & Skids and the Inferno babies, but part of me wonders if the former was deliberate, at least by this this point. In this issue, Rictor and Rahne cheer on the MLF (positions they've never really taken before) while Cyclops tries what's basically "diplomatic inaction." This seems it's done to make Cable's eventual role as "NM mentor" look more attractive to the team (an us) by comparison since, like the MLF, Cable is being "proactive" (incidentally, get use to hearing that word A LOT during this decade) and is actually getting "stuff" done. Meanwhile this let's X-Factor (who, let's remember are suppose to be the "premier" mutant group at this point) look useless and ineffective, as is standard for representatives of "the establishment. In other words, my theory is, in THIS case, this inattentiveness was just another tool to make Cable Look Cool. (because this book has been so subtle about getting that point across!)

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  17. In the previous issue Wildside was able to make the MLF invisible through his power to "distort reality". So is his power akin to Sue Storm's, Mastermind's or… perhaps be thankful John Byrne never wrote a saga revealing he could fold space around them;) Although now that you think about it, that white hair might suggest he is the Scarlet Witch's other brother;)

    And re: Forearm, perhaps he is a clone of Barbarus made by Mister Sinister;)

    At this point the MLF appear to be being set up as a new Brotherhood, what with Freedom Force now working for the government, but Louise doesn't appear to have twigged to that here enough to infer it in the dialogue (or didn’t want to)!

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  18. Jonathan: The Super-Sabre scene will become rather ironic later on.

    Ha, he's been getting closer and closer nicks on neck since his very first appearance. Should really have known to cut his losses in time.

    Nathan: At this point the MLF appear to be being set up as a new Brotherhood, what with Freedom Force now working for the government, but Louise doesn't appear to have twigged to that here enough to infer it in the dialogue (or didn’t want to)!

    A mutant terrorist is a mutant terrorist, and there are the predecessors in that field, but again I think it's a case of who do you want to be compared to. Mystique's lot managed to assassin a US senator and bring forth a future that set the gold standard as bleak vistas go, and of course of the Magneto's originals even the lowliest one is running circles around the Avengers and been around long enough to be the mother of anyone Louise could hope to set up for running a third iteration.

    She was probably still thinking she'd have a future on the book, poor thing.

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  19. @Teemu: Now don't go suggesting Mystique is mother to one of the MLF;)

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  20. @Nathan, I was alluding to Scarlet Witch and her Silver Age days as the token girl in the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

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  21. "I know much has been said on X-Factor's lack of follow-up on both Rusty & Skids and the Inferno babies, but part of me wonders if the former was deliberate, at least by this this point."
    Yeah, but we're at the point where Jean and Scott and Hank and Trish are going on dates and Jean is moping about her identity issues while Rusty and Skids are in the hands of the MLF. It's doesn't just make them look ineffective, it makes them look callous and self-centered. I don't think that was the intention.

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  22. So I read this issue for the first time specifically so I could join in on the discussion, but ... man, I got nothing.

    I mean, I guess it's fine for what it is. Weezie and Liefeld are not exactly my two faves, so I wasn't expecting much. Structurally, though, it does seem to work to have all the quiet "character"-bits happen with the New Mutants, while we occasionally cut to Cable vs. Freedom Force.

    I mean .. sure.

    I did get a reminder of why I hate Weezie's writing. That thought balloon of Boom Boom's. This is what it says:

    "You win, Rahne. THIS time. And the funny thing is, you didn't even know that a contest's been going on. Or did you? You act so sweet ... but isn't there a saying about a wolf in sheep's clothing, because no one can be so darn DENSE."

    God, that's awful. And she has a cute little pun in the middle, which I like, but it's buried in awkwardness. That whole thing with Rahne/Rictor/Boom-Boom, the whole scene, is so awkward and filled with redundancies ... I feel like I see this a lot with Weezie.

    Maybe The Rob brings it out of her? I'm remembering that middle chapter of "X-Tinction" where Jubilee has the same histrionic conversation with Boom Boom and Rictor four times in 22 pages.

    "You guys don't have powers!"
    "We can still fight, even without powers!"
    "But, but you don't have powers!!!!!"
    "That doesn't make us helpless!!!!!!!!!!!!"
    "But ... your powers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
    "We'll make do without!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
    "POWERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
    "BAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    But I'm getting ahead of myself.

    Here's looking forward to issue 89!

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  23. @Jason: Louise didn't need Rob to bring it out in her. Just recall how she completely dismantled Chris's character work on Illyana:(

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  24. @Jason- besides, how could possibly forget Simonson's "wimpy lover" line during Inferno?

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  25. "Wimpy lover." Yeah, that was sigh-inducing.

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  26. And again we get more Cable shilling than a month's worth of Comcast spam.

    Also the "Moira" subplot that's been brewing across all of the X-books could stand to gain a LOT more subtlety. I mean even by this point I'm like We. Get. IT!If the writers weren't going to resolve this right away, they should have introduced the changes a bit more gradually. That being said though, her desire to have Rahne come back home is understandable. Yes even with "gee Moira is SO DIFFERENT" talk. As pointed out before X-Factor aren't bring good guardians, so her position is defensible and sound. Too bad it'll eventually give way to yet more Cable shilling.

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  27. It looks like Liefeld gave the Blob the same haircut the he himself had at the time.

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  28. Oh, I notice I failed to look at that one scan, where they state Cable had been doing top secret government operations before going rogue after having a falling-out with... certain elements in US government, elements not unwilling to get their hands on him. I'll be hungrily waiting for a follow-up on that.

    I also wonder if the other fellows grimaced a bit when Commando apparently innocently used the term 'going Rogue' about someone (much tougher than the rest) leaving the gang and going to play with some other guys. It's a proper roast they're having there alright.

    "You know, Cable, speaking of T2... I don't know if it'll be you or the Rob who's gonna be more pissed about the fact that when talking of iconic imagery of a cyborg wielding a minigun... oh, yeah, everybody's like 'wasn't Arnold so cool in that movie?!' Budda-budda-budda! What did you guys get, a commercial? Yeah... about having jeans, like you were goddang Scott Summers during the first fifty issues of X-Factor or something. It says nothing to you yet, Cable, but in two years it will be retconned into a 'your momma' joke."

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  29. They both have style, apparently.

    I can't believe there was a time in my life where I thought *this* was better than Alan Davis or George Perez...

    I think I liked Perez even while I still liked Liefeld. But I definitely turned up my nose at Davis while caught in the sway of the Rob. :(

    @Nathan: Liefeld would make a good porn industry director, given the impossible positions he likes his females folded into;)

    Ha! Too true.

    @Mela: ot sure if this qualifies as "501 Genes", but Moira's body language is less a sassy arm crossing and more an attempt to cover her chest up after taking a shower.

    Definitely. She looks like she has her hands tucked into her armpits for some reason.

    @Anonymous: There's one other thing that doesn't make sense about the scene with X-Factor- the Inferno babies.

    It makes perfect sense: the Inferno babies are a dropped plot Weezie has no intention of teasing further or resolving and we're meant to have forgotten about it. We don't have to like it, but that's why it's not being brought up.

    This is later explained away as Cable masking his condition to potential enemies in Cable 9.

    Yeah, I know. I was just trying to make the point that, on the surface, without any further explanation, it doesn't quite work.

    @Cerebro: Well, at least Scott finally figured out how to use a phone. Took him bloody long enough.

    It's a video call, though. Maybe his phobia doesn't extend to those, only traditional phones? :)

    @Jonathan: In this issue, Rictor and Rahne cheer on the MLF (positions they've never really taken before) while Cyclops tries what's basically "diplomatic inaction." This seems it's done to make Cable's eventual role as "NM mentor" look more attractive to the team (an us) by comparison since, like the MLF, Cable is being "proactive" ... and is actually getting "stuff" done.

    I actually thought about bringing this up in this review, then decided to hold it for next issue (now I wish I'd brought it up here), but I think you're right: X-Factor's handling of the Rusty & Skids situation is definitely setting up the New Mutants break with the team when Cable offers them an alliance. Simonson needed some motivation for them to leave the relative comforts of Ship to join Cable's mission, and X-Factor being squares here, along with Moira's demand for Rahne to return home (in that, next issue, she'll agree to letting Rahne stay under Cable's tutelage) serves as that motivation, and at least offers an out-universe explanation for why X-Factor sucks so hard at rescuing Rusty & Skids (as for their total lack of acknowledgement of the situation in XF, I assume that's Simonson deciding not to bother an audience that may not be reading NM as well with the details of a plot she's just using to setup a new status quo in the other book - X-Factor is appearing NM, but the New Mutants never show up in XF during this time; X-Factor is being used in service of a NM plot, and suffering for it to anyone reading both books).

    @Jason: God, that's awful. And she has a cute little pun in the middle, which I like, but it's buried in awkwardness. That whole thing with Rahne/Rictor/Boom-Boom, the whole scene, is so awkward and filled with redundancies ... I feel like I see this a lot with Weezie.

    I dunno, I don't think that bit of dialogue is that bad. I guess I don't see the problem. *Shrug* To each his own...

    "Wimpy lover." Yeah, that was sigh-inducing.

    That, on the other hand, I definitely see the problem. :)

    @Leo: It looks like Liefeld gave the Blob the same haircut the he himself had at the time.

    Ha! It really does.

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  30. Teebore: I assume that's Simonson deciding not to bother an audience that may not be reading NM as well with the details of a plot she's just using to setup a new status quo in the other book - X-Factor is appearing NM, but the New Mutants never show up in XF during this time; X-Factor is being used in service of a NM plot, and suffering for it to anyone reading both books).

    Never did stop no Claremont, that sort of thing, as painfully witnessed by someone who got only the UNCANNY published for him. The Beyonder looks down and kills the New Mutants. "Um, okay, I guess...?" This armor covers more and more me like it did her, when I call the Soulsword "Oh. That sort of armor." What do you talk? Colossus has no kid sister. "What do you talk, Colossus has a kid sister? Oh look a winged horse!"

    Though honestly I think it just made the X-Men even more awesome.

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  31. @Teebore: I remember having a fight with a friend over Alan Davis vs. Todd McFarlane. I tried to argue that Davis had great storytelling and his characters were expressive. My friend held up a splash page from a Spawn and said, "This looks kewl."

    Fast forward to college and I had similar argument with one of the other two guys I knew who read comics. George Perez vs. the guy who drew a Lady Death. I understand taste is subjective but I couldn't believe someone over 18 and intelligent was into Lady Death.

    - Mike Lougjlin

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  32. I’m not sure it’s a 501 Genes entry, since Liefeld is far from the only perpetrator of this kind of thing, but in that tier of panels you posted where Super Sabre is almost garroted Blob’s slobbering maw has 21-22 teeth just on the bottom.

    Another, intentional comic-book convention of the time threw me for a loop. Pyro says to Cable on the first page that Freedom Force has “reason to believe” that Rusty and Skids were in cahoots with the MLF; Cable replies, “You have reason to go to the devil!” Which is pretty standard Code language for the time, or really I think maybe a little earlier, if Cable’s saying “You have reason to go to hell!” Folks would use “blazes” or “the devil” instead of “hell” just as they’d use “Lord” instead of “Jesus” and stuff, not that I’m telling you anything you don’t know. The minced-oath substitution and the awkwardness of the phrase being thrown back by Cable in Pyro’s face just combined to totally confuse me for a good long moment.

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